The Difference Between Amateur and Pro Boxing


The Difference between Amateur and Professional Boxing

What are the main differences between the two? On the face of it things don’t look much different, after all boxing is boxing, but the two are actually pretty different and there are some key aspects that couldn’t be further apart. In this article I take a look at some of the most glaring differences between amateur and professional boxing.

1. The Styles

Amateur boxing is all about points scoring. This means your style has to be geared towards quick strikes so the one, two or jab, cross tends to be favoured here. You need fast hands and fast feet to do well in amateur boxing because you will be throwing the one, two and then moving in and out of range.
In the pro game you can afford to plant your feet more and throw your shots with more power. You can look for the big shot more and look for the knock out more too.

2. The Speed

Amateur boxing is a three round bout, so complimenting the above with fast one, twos it is only natural that the actual pace of the fight will generally be much quicker too. You have only 6-9mins to fight and win the bout so you have to throw a lot of quick strikes to pick up points.
The pro game is much longer with 12 rounds being the longest, that is 36mins of fighting. You can afford to pace yourself in pro boxing, something you cannot do in amateur boxing because if you come out guns blazing and don’t get rid of your opponent quickly, there is every chance you will gas and run out of steam in the later rounds of a pro fight. In the pro game you can wear your opponent down, figure out your opponent and set up traps, these are all much harder to do in amateur boxing due to the shorter nature of the bout.

3. Points Scoring

As already mentioned, amateur boxing is all about landing quick strikes, it doesn’t matter if these strikes are jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, head or body, they just need to be landed cleanly. You won’t score extra points for landing a big shot or wobbling your opponent. This is why it makes more sense trying to land the quicker and straighter shots such as the jab and cross rather than trying to load up on a hook.
In the pro game you have a 10 point scoring system for each round, you can win rounds 10-8 or 10-7 if you’re opponent suffers a knock down. You can lose a few rounds but turn the fight around with a big round for yourself or a knock down. There are also different rules for scoring fights such as ring generalship so it can be very subjective according to whoever is doing the scoring.

4. Gear

This is an obvious one, although the rule has changed somewhat not too long ago, amateurs tend to wear protective headgear(seniors may be different as seen in the Olympics). Headgear protects against cuts and will naturally see less stoppages and knockouts as a result. Boxers also tend to wear heavier or more padded gloves and have vests.
The pros do not use headgear and depending on your weight class, will use either 8 or 10z gloves. With no head gear and smaller gloves, that means harder punches and higher risks of cuts and bruises and also more knockouts.

5. Money

There is no Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather in the amateur ranks. You are not fighting for money or fighting for a living. This means as a pro, Boxing becomes your job and often your source of income to support yourself or your family. This also affords you more time to work on your craft and become better at your game and more skilled. Amateur is really like a part time job whilst you are busy studying at school. Although that doesn’t mean there aren’t any highly skilled amateurs, infact you will often see many amateur boxers who are more skilled than many pros! But when you are a pro you will naturally have more time to hone your craft and improve upon your skill.

About the author 


Boxing Coach
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Boxing Author of:

The Boxing Cheat Sheet - Your Ultimate Guide to Ring Survival

Strength and Conditioning for Boxing - Work out Hits to get you Fighting Fit!

Forgotten Legends of the Ring - Ten Past Masters of the Squared Circle

*Any videos or images used on this site to support my articles that are copyrighted are used for educational purposes and in accordance to the fair use act and are not my own - all credit is due to the respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.


amateur boxing, difference between amateur and pro boxing

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